Before you begin

If you are planning on work in, over, under, or along a stream you need to obtain the appropriate permits PRIOR to beginning that work.

Before you begin your permit application, take some time to learn about the permit process and determine which permit is right for you. Applicants can find complete permit information at the Department of Natural Resource and Conservation 310 Stream Permitting web page.

Supervisors and Administrators can access, “Montana Stream Permitting: A Guide for Conservation District Supervisors and Others”, for detailed guidance on making decisions regarding stream permitting in Montana.


Keep in mind that you will be required to design your project in a manner that minimizes impacts, including sedimentation and erosion during and after project construction. Your project must be designed to preserve and protect the river or stream keeping it in as natural condition as possible. Contact agencies to find out if specific criteria apply to your project. Visit the “How to apply” page for a comprehensive list of permits and agencies.


It is recommended that you do not purchase materials for project construction until all permits are issued. The size and type of materials may be modified during the permitting process.


Vegetation is important to the stability and health of the stream. Vegetation removal must be kept to a minimum and bare ground must be replanted. Weeds must be controlled in the area until vegetation is established.


To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, use clean equipment. Make sure your equipment is free of weeds, weed seeds, and excess grease before using it in a waterway. Clean mud and aquatic plants from heavy machinery or other equipment before moving between waters and work sites. Drain water from machinery let dry before moving to another location. To learn about aquatic invasive species in Montana, visit:

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